Bonjour Kale Gimlet!

kale gimlet_thefrancofly_Jessie Kanelos Weiner

A few weeks ago, I got to tell my long story about how I ended up in Paris on my favourite podcast Radio Cherry Bombe.  Although it really is like any other coming-of-age story set to a slightly soundstage-y backdrop, I talked about the moment where I finally decided I would move back to Paris for good and commit to the complicated life of being a professional illustrator.  And I would not look back, doing whatever  I could to manifest that dream.  Luckily Paris has introduced me to many other wonderful women who have moved to this difficult city and have created and pursued their own projects with great zeal and grace.

Kale gimlet how-to_thefrancofly_Jessie Kanelos Weiner

My great friend Kristen Beddard of The Kale Project’s new book Bonjour Kale: A Memoir of Paris, Love, and Recipes (Sourcebooks) is a heartfelt story of starting over in a freakishly foreign place like Paris, sans job, sans projects.  The biggest cultural difference was she couldn’t even find her ideal comfort food, kale.  Kale in France had disappeared throughout the decades as it become an unpalatable taste of wartimes.  In the meantime, it had even become a decorative plant. When I moved to Paris 8 years ago, I chuckled seeing kale cozied in next to the pansies in my neighborhood flower garden.  (Foraging for Dummies, right up my ally!)  

kale gimlet_thefrancofly_Jessie KanelosI can truly say that Kristen was one of the courageous people who brought a new wave of eating to the French plate.  Three years ago, I tried and tried to pitch veggie-based cookbooks to editors and it was firmly always “too soon”.  But now there is cashew cream served in carnivorous restaurants, organic grocery stores outnumbering their contemporaries, a general curiosity about things like chia seeds and how to eat better to feel better.  And that’s no small feat in a country steeped in tradition like France.  Bonjour Kale_thefrancofly_Jessie Kanelos Weiner

In honor of the release of Bonjour Kale today, Kristen let me illustrate one of her favorite recipes from her book, a kale gimlet.  It’s a sweet and spicy ode to her single days before her monumental move to Paris.  

Order Bonjour Kale HERE.

Oh, and I also illustrated the cover, too! 🙂


Kale and Tequila Gimlet (from Bonjour Kale by Kristen Beddard, Sourcebooks)

1/2 bunch kale
1/2-1 inch piece fresh ginger
1 1/2 shots lime juice
1 shot tequila
1/2 shot Grand Marnier
Agave syrup, to taste
1 handful cilantro
6 ice cubes

Juice the kale and ginger in a juicer. Measure out one shot of the juice. Pour the kale-ginger juice, lime juice, tequila, Grand Marnier, agave syrup and cilantro into a shaker with the ice. Shake vigorously. Pour and enjoy!

Yield: 1 drink

Kale gets animated!…an unrecipe recipe


Parisians have turned their frowns upside down; it’s back to the grind! Nonetheless I love that early September still hangs onto the Summer harvest.   Summer fruits and vegetables are a god send because they can be thrown together laboriously into long, outdoor summer dinners or quickly slapped together with an iphone between a shoulder and a cheek.  This is non-recipe recipe I improvised for my lunch the other day during a multitasking frenzy, but it can easily be adapted to anything else fridge dwelling. But I’ll let the gif do the talking because it took 1000 times longer to make than the salad itself… 🙂

kale @ wanderlust continued


Had to share a few snapshots of last week’s kale workshop at Wanderlust.  Thanks to mon mari for the photos.  Like most guests who passed through, he was a kale first-timer, reluctant to pick up a kale leaf, but unapologetic in putting down the kale chips.  I think we’re on to something…


“So, is it true that American girls….”


Behold!  A kale bouquet™!


Rosé R US!  Kristin from The Kale Project and I rewarding ourselves on the terrace after job well done!

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kale @ wanderlust

kale 2

Two years ago now, I was forcing two garment racks of designer clothes through the middle of Times Square in knee-deep snow as my phone blew up with Starbucks orders.  Flash forward to now.  Halleluiah, I’m only buying coffee for myself!  Although my heart still beats for New York and my previous life working in wardrobe for film and tv, I have found an extraordinary metier drawing kale from the comfort of my own home and searching high and low for yellow plum tomatoes for a photo shoot.

Nevertheless, when I met Kristin, the beautiful mind behind The Kale Project, we quickly bonded over how our New York lives turned Parisian, passionately re-devoted to food.  Leaving her advertising job behind in New York, Kristin discovered that kale was nowhere to be found in Paris.  The stuffy wartime vegetable did not have the superfood credentials as its American cousin.  In fact, it had been completely forgotten in France.  Although it can often be seen nestled amongst the flowers in public gardens, it was nowhere to be found on plates.  For a little over a year, Kristin has been working directly with farmers, raising awareness, and documenting the movement on her blog. Most recently she can be found sharing her kale creations at Paris’ newest coffee jaunt, Loustic.  Although a simple idea, the movement is indebted to Kristin’s courage and dedication and proof that one person can make a significant change (or insert Ghandi quote here).

I am happy to announce that his Saturday, we will be hosting a free kale workshop at Wanderlust!  Kristin and I will be playing with the aesthetic side of kale by inviting guests to create an edible kale bouquet.  The bouquet can then be turned into a simple spring salad.  And we will be sharing the superfood powers of kale and fun surprises along the way.  We hope to see you this Saturday April 20th from 2-5pm!

Wanderlust, Quai d’Austerlitz, 75013 Paris

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